Despite significantly different economic systems, the United States, Russia and China all show marked similarities in the structure of the distribution of wealth and income. In all three, economic inequality is rising as a result of the interaction of economic and political forces that affect low-, middle-, and upper income strata differently. Because high and rising inequality corrodes social cohesion and weakens governance, policy makers in the three countries have sought to identify policy solutions that would limit inequality without inhibiting economic growth. Some in China have proposed the strategy “control the two ends, cultivate the middle” to deal with inequality. What would such a policy consist of in practice?
Thomas Remington is Goodrich C. White Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science at Emory University and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He is also Senior Research Associate at the Higher School of Economic in Moscow, Russian Federation. He is author of a number of books and articles on Russian and comparative politics. Among his publications are Presidential Decrees in Russia: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014); The Politics of Inequality in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2011); The Russian Parliament: Institutional Evolution in a Transitional Regime, 1989-1999 (Yale University Press, 2001); The Politics of Institutional Choice: Formation of the Russian State Duma (co-authored with Steven S. Smith) (Princeton University Press, 2001). His research concerns economic inequality and social policy in developed and developing states.